The Black Keys
The story of Ohio Players—The Black Keys’ twelfth studio album and a record unlike any other in their long ride through deep blues and soul power—begins on a Saturday in February 2003. Singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney were on the road supporting their debut album, 2002’s The Big Come Up, opening for Sleater-Kinney at New York’s Roseland Ballroom, when the headliners invited them to a party after the gig: the traditional bash following the broadcast of Saturday Night Live with the TV show’s cast and guests.
“This is insane—of course, we want to go,” Carney recalls. “We said ‘How are you getting in?’ ‘Our friend Beck played tonight.’”
Auerbach and Carney were school friends in Akron, Ohio, not yet a band, when Beck’s 1993 single “Loser” —a landmark fusion of Delta blues, hip-hop churn, and post-punk lyricism—hit them like a bomb. “His aesthetic was incredible,” Auerbach says today. “He wore his influences on his sleeve, and we learned from that. There was someone showing us a way to go.”
At the SNL party, Carney handed Beck an advance copy of The Black Keys’ next album, Thickfreakness. Three weeks later, they were offered the opening slot on Beck’s 2003 Sea
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